Archive for women’s rights

Living in Nairobi

Posted in Awareness, CULTURE, Humanity, Mother Africa with tags , , , on July 9, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Nairobi is Kenya’s capital and largest cosmopolitan city. It is a city where tourists enjoy luxury hotels with pampered treatment. It is also a city where local residents live in settlements without privacy in sanitation facilities.

Most of Nairobi’s population lives in settlements or slums without clean water, private sanitation facilities, adequate health care, or schools. Conditions such as these create an environment subject to violent crimes. In this environment, women and girls are the most vulnerable.

Women and girls’ need for privacy in sanitation facilities are different from men’s. Without such privacy they are at risk of rape and physical or psychological violence. One woman said after she had been assaulted,

“I didn’t report it to the police. Even if I did, what good would it do? It wouldn’t change anything.”

Security officials have reportedly added to the violence faced by the residence of these settlements.

A UN Independent Expert on human rights obligations said,

“. . . Sanitation is not just about health, housing, education, work, gender equality, and the ability to survive. Sanitation . . . evokes the concept of human dignity . . .”

Haitian Women’s Rights Activist Testify Before UN

Posted in Awareness, Humanity, Latin America, NEWS with tags , , , , on June 8, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Haitian Women’s Rights Activist Leaves Camp for Displaced People to Testify Before the UN Human Rights Council

Today, June 8, the United Nations Human Rights Council gather in Geneva to hear testimony from Malya Villard-Appolon, a Haitian women’s rights activist  who has lived in the camps for displaced people since the earthquake destroyed her home in January. Ms. Appolon, a leader of KOFAVIV, a Haitian grassroots women’s organization, has witnessed the rapes in the camps and the lack of a coordinated or effective response to these persistent threats. Ms. Appolon said,

“We want to tell the Human Rights Council that the systems for protecting women in the camps are broken. We get no protection from the police, or the peacekeepers. We feel we do not have access to the rooms where decisions about our safety are made. We need the support and commitment of the international community.”

Lawyers from MADRE, the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), and the law firm of Morrison & Foerster LLP, who recently returned from a delegation to Haiti and will be accompanying Ms. Appolon.


UN Calls DR Congo “Rape Capital of the World”

Posted in Awareness, Mother Africa, NEWS with tags , , , on April 30, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

UN Calls DR Congo “Rape Capital of the World”
Margo Wallstrong, UN representative, said that more than 8000 women were raped in 2009, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She called the DR Congo the rape capital of the world. Wallstrong went on to say . . .

“Women have no rights, if those who violate their rights go unpunished . . . If women continue to suffer sexual violence, it is not because the law is inadequate to protect them, but it is inadequately enforced.”

The Harvard Humanitarian Initiative reported 60% of rape victims in South Kivu, (eastern DR Congo) were gang raped by armed men.

The UN has been:

• Escorting women to the market
• Working with local officials
• Developing early warning systems

Rebels from the 1994 Rwanda genocide are now in eastern DR Congo. Monuc troops are fighting them.

More Controversy – Banning the Hiqab

Posted in Awareness, CULTURE, NEWS with tags , , , on March 31, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey


A controversy is brewing in Montreal, Canada, over wearing the traditional Muslin veil called a hiqab in government forums. A student’s refusal to remove her hiqab in school caused her repeated expulsions and spearheaded the controversy. A bill is being considered to address showing your face in government agencies.

This instance reminds me of a February post concerning Sudanese, Muslin women wearing pants in public places. These women were arrested and sentenced to be flogged for indecent exposure. The question then was, “Is this indecent or unjust?”

It is still a question of justice for women’s rights. If a woman chooses to wear pants or a veil, she should have that right. I do not see any government addressing the apparel of a man.

Indecent or Unjust?

Posted in Awareness, Spotlight with tags , on February 1, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

“I am Muslin, I understand Muslin law,” said Lubna Hussein, a Sudanese journalist charged with indecent dress in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. Indecent dress is a crime punishable with a $100 fine and 40 lashes. Lubna Hussein and 12 other women were arrested in July, 2009, at a café for wearing pants.

“It is not about pants; it’s about principle.” The journalist said. “A woman should be able to wear what she wants and not be publicly whipped for it.”

Ten of the women were fined and flogged two days after their arrest. Hussein and two others decided to go to court. Amnesty International asked the Sudanese government to drop the charges and the indecency law due to the penalties associated with it.

Hussein led a campaign against the law by sending out invitations to her court date. Due to the crowd of supports, her court date was postponed twice. Many of her supporters were woman wearing pants. Some of her supporters were beaten by riot police and dozens were detained. At the time of her arrest, Hussein was a United Nations press officer. The judge adjourned Hussein’s last court date to investigate if she had immunity of the indecency law due to her employment with the UN. Hussein has resigned from her UN position to challenge the law on its merit. Lubna Hussein is in the Spotlight.

Photo by Ashraf  Shazly